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Former Man’s Playthrough of Celeste One of Her Most Important Life Experiences

21-year-old Genevieve DeSola never expected the little indie darling she bought in 2018 to fundamentally change her personhood.

“At first,” she began sheepishly over our Discord call interview, “It was just a speed game, y’know? Just came out, everyone was talking about how good it was, how great of a run it was. People were figuring out secrets ‘n shit, digging around, seeing what worked and what didn’t. Everyone was talking. It was, like, a burgeoning community.”

At the time of Celeste’s release, Genevieve (known to her friends as Genny) was going by her birth name, and still identified as male. She had always felt closer to the girls in her highschool, but was often ostracized by those around her for her niche interests, such as speedrunning, which she found much solace in. She recalls one of her first speed games being Super Meat Boy, another difficult movement platformer.

“I never really paid attention to the story. Just sorta mashed through the levels, trying to unlock ‘em all so I could practice on them. But then the weirdest thing happened one night. My computer’s hard drive got fucked, and I had no clue about cloud saves at the time. Think I just turned them off at some point.” she recalled to us with a chuckle. “Stupid in hindsight.”

“But, anyway,” she continued, “I had to start from the very beginning. I was fucking pissed, but after sleeping on it, I decided to actually, like, listen to the story this time. That’s when shit started clicking.”

One of the aspects of Celeste’s story is that many of the themes are allegories to the transgender experience; the very mountain the player climbs is, in one part, an allegory for the creator, Maddy Thorson’s journey to accept her own trans identity over the game’s development.

Genevieve saw herself in that.

“The main character, like, carries all this shit with her on the climb. Doesn’t see herself in the mirror, just all her shame and what she hates about herself. I felt that, but I didn’t know why. Then the creator herself came out in 2019, ‘n talked about how she felt the same things as I did. It’s hard to explain.”

After that, Genevieve began browsing transgender subreddits, and listening to other people’s experiences of also realizing they were trans because of Celeste. Then, in 2020, she came out as a trans woman, and began HRT in 2021.

She ended our interview with a message to all the other ‘eggs’ in the gaming scene:

“Sometimes, a game’s gonna hit you in a way you don’t know how to feel about. And sometimes, you gotta sit with those feelings. Don’t push them to the back or ignore them ‘cause they make you feel weird. The weird feelings are usually the truest.”

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